Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding: 10 easy steps to a gala holiday dinner

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Have you ever enjoyed prime rib?

If you’re not a vegetarian, and enjoy going out to eat – I’d guess the answer is yes. Most of us have given in to the tantalizing $9.99 prime rib special at some point in our lives.

But have you ever roasted a prime rib at home? And served it, in all its tender, juicy glory, alongside a baked stuffed potato, asparagus, and wonderfully tender, pillowy soft Yorkshire pudding?

I’d guess the answer is no.

Too challenging? Not when you follow these 10 easy steps to a gala feast that’s totally attainable by the home cook.

1) Buy your roast. You want a standing rib roast or prime rib roast; same thing, different names. This cut usually won’t just be sitting around in the meat case, so ask one of the guys in white coats behind the meat counter to help you.

First you’ll be asked, “How many ribs?” Two is the smallest you want to go; most people prefer at least three ribs, to ensure even cooking.

You’ll also probably be asked, “Bone in or bone out?” I like to cook roasts – chicken, or beef – with the bone in, as I feel the bone lends flavor. (Plus, the dog is in for a real treat if I’ve cooked a bone-in beef roast.) But if you’re uneasy carving around a big bone, ask for the roast to be de-boned.

Now, this is NOT an inexpensive cut – I happened to get mine on sale for $4.99/lb.; usually they’re more than that. Be ready for some possible sticker shock.

Also, be prepared to invite friends for dinner, if you’re just a couple; even a small roast will easily feed 5 to 6 people. I chose a two-rib roast, and it fed four, with plenty of leftovers.

Click anywhere on this picture to enlarge it to full size – this will work for any of the photos you see in this blog post.

2) Rub the roast all over with your favorite herbs. I’m using rosemary, thyme, and parsley here, plus chopped garlic. Wrap loosely and refrigerate overnight, or until you’re ready to cook – though not longer than a day or two.

Next up: roasting. Put the meat in a lightly greased pan, as shown above; I’m using a 9″ x 13″ pan. Roast in a preheated 450°F oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and continue to roast until it’s as done as you like.

A meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer is your best friend here, and really the only way to tell for sure when the roast is as done as you like. Measure by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; don’t let it touch the bone.

When the roast reaches your chosen temperature, remove it from the oven, tent it loosely with foil, and keep it cozy on the back of the stove while you make the Yorkshire pudding and prepare the rest of the meal. The roast will continue to cook a bit as it rests; and will lose less juice when you carve it.

So, what’s your desired temperature? Here are some guidelines.

120°F-125°F – rare (deep red in the middle, pink around the edges).
130°F-135°F – medium rare (very pink center, fading to tan around the edges)
140°F-145°F – medium (light pink center, brown edges)
150°F-155°F – medium well (no pink at all; tan in the center, brown edges)
over 155°F – well done (brown all the way through)

VERY broadly speaking, your two- or three-rib roast will take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours to reach the degree of doneness you like.

While the meat is roasting, you’re not going to be sitting idly by – there’s plenty to do besides sip wine and schmooze with your friends!

3) Set the table.

I know you can do a better job than this! I love to cook, but setting a fancy table? Not up my alley.

As you can see from the reflection in the door, though, our friends’ senior-citizen Golden, Silvio, was pretty interested.

4) Ready whatever else you’re going to serve.

Baked stuffed potatoes are simple to make ahead; I always keep a stash in the freezer, ready to thaw and heat whenever the occasion presents itself. All I do is microwave whole, scrubbed potatoes; slice in half lengthwise; scoop out the flesh; mash with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and salt; and stuff back into the skins.

And asparagus is a snap – literally. Snap off the woody ends; yes, just snap them off, they’ll break where they naturally choose to, which is usually an inch or two from the end. Lay the spears on a large, microwave-safe plate; and cover with a glass cover, or plastic wrap if you don’t worry about using plastic in the microwave. Set them aside until you’re carving the roast.

5) Make the batter for Yorkshire pudding.

You’ve heard of Yorkshire pudding, right? It’s an absolute Sunday roast must-have in the UK. And it’s not complicated: flour, milk, eggs, and salt, whisked together and poured into the pan from which you’ve just removed your crusty brown roast. While the roast rests, the pudding bakes and PUFFS.

And if this sounds suspiciously like popovers, you’re absolutely right; they’re basically one and the same, though popovers are made in individual servings, and Yorkshire pudding bakes in your roasting pan.

Yorkshire Pudding: Whisk together 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Beat 2 large eggs and 1 cup milk until well combined. Beat the liquid into the dry ingredients until it’s smooth and frothy. Let this mixture stand at room temperature while the roast cooks.

6) Take the perfectly cooked roast out of the oven. As the cook and baker, feel free to nibble on some of those crusty edges; but DO NOT cut a slice, even a small one. As the roast rests, the juices settle back into the meat, making it much juicier on your plate.

Tent the roast with foil, and set it at the back of the stove while you bake the Yorkshire pudding and cook the side dishes.

Turn the oven up to 400°F and place the pan back in the oven to heat up until the drippings are just beginning to smoke.

7) Bake the Yorkshire pudding.

Some folks like to drain most of the fat out of the roasting pan before adding the pudding batter. Do so if you wish; but I feel, in for a penny, in for a pound – this isn’t a low-calorie dinner, so I leave a good bit of fat, along with the brown drippings, in the pan.

Pour the batter into the hot pan, tilting the pan so the batter covers the bottom. I’ve used a 9″ x 13″ pan here; that’s about the right size for this amount of batter, though you could go up to about 10″ x 14″, if you like.

The fat and batter will naturally mingle; there’s no need to stir. Your goal is to pop that hot pan back into the oven ASAP.

Set your timer for 25 minutes, and turn your attention to the vegetables.

if the potatoes are at room temperature already, place them in a pan, tent with foil, and put them in the oven alongside the pudding. Alternatively, warm them in the microwave for a few minutes just before serving.

Asparagus cooks wonderfully well in the microwave. I find 2 to 4 minutes is all it needs; the stalks remain bright green, and tweaking the time just a bit yields anything from snapping crisp to nicely soft.

8 ) Carve the roast. My husband carved this nice, thick slab, then cut off a bite before I could take its picture!

Cut around the bone, if you’ve cooked a bone-in roast. Lay slices on a warm serving platter.

“Did someone mention a BONE?”

9) After 25 minutes, or when it looks like this, take the Yorkshire pudding out of the oven. Cut it into big squares.

10) Sit down. Pass the food. Pour the wine. Enjoy!

Here’s to a happy holiday dinner for one and all. To quote Tiny Tim at the end of A Christmas Carol, “God bless us, every one.”

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. fujigirl

    I get the roast “boned and tied” – that way it cooks on the bone, but when it’s done, you just cut the string and it’s easy to carve. All the tenderness, no dealing with the bone later (the cat gets that pleasure!).
    Mmmm…I am getting all sorts of ideas for Christmas dinner! Elisabeth

    Reply
  2. "Paul from Ohio"

    Hmmmmmmmmmmyummmmmmmm…and TWO furry mouths looking for a bone? I knew of Baci! Happy Holidays PJ.

    I have copied the URL and sent it to an English lady that I know that lives in the US Virgin Islands who was chef at her own restaurant – authentic English goodies along with all sorts of mouth watering favorites. Looooooooooooooks and smells delicious!

    Yes, Silvio was visiting. He’s nearly 14 – an elderly (and lovely) Golden mix. Show his picture to Toby! :) PJH

    Reply
  3. iasteel

    I’m guessing the 2 bones were just right for the 2 furry diners. I’ve never made this with the yorkshire pudding. Gotta try it soon looks great.

    Yorkshire pudding is super easy – definitely give it a try. Happy holidays – PJH

    Reply
  4. scnuhib

    Yum! Made this a few years ago, excellent. Our dog Belmont, age ten would be following me around the kitchen drooling until he got his. I will make this again.

    Reply
  5. Heather B

    That looks amazing. I always thought yorkshire pudding had to be cooked as individual servings. I am so excited to find that is much easier than I thought. I am looking forward to making prime rib for the holidays.

    Not food related: what are the breeds of the adorable dogs in the picture?

    Heather, Silvio, the older gent, is a Golden/something… maybe an Irish Setter, as he’s so long-legged, though no one knows for sure. Baci, the blonde, is an Italian Spinone. Both lovely dogs. Enjoy your easy-does-it Yorkshire pudding! PJH

    Reply
  6. Bridgid

    Yes, I have, PJ. And guess what? Your picture is what we are having for Christmas dinner. Plus mashed with gravy and another veggie. The real question is: what is for dessert? Any ideas? I could use some help there. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful assortment of holiday yummies.

    Why not go with something fitting the theme of Yorkshire pudding? Sticky toffee pudding would be perfect for a traditional Christmas dinner!-Jon

    You know, Bridgid, I didn’t even read Jon’s answer and that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking – I’d go with the Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Reply
  7. Lorena

    PJ – thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve been considering doing this for a while now and while it might not happen this year, it’s definitely going in my forward-going file for future reference!

    However, in regards to getting the roast bone in (which I agree adds lots of flavor) you mention giving your dog the cooked bone once removed. This is a *really* bad idea, for a number of reasons, and even the FDA has released a statement to that effect: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm208365.htm

    Dogs should only be given uncooked bones and only under strict supervision. Nobody wants an emergency vet bill for Christmas.

    Wow, thanks for the heads-up – I didn’t know that, Lorena. Yikes! I guess Baci will be getting only raw bones from now on… I appreciate your input here. Happy holidays, and I hope you get to enjoy a roast one of these days… PJH

    Reply
  8. jnharsanyi

    This is perfect timing for me! I bought a 3 rib roast on sale a couple months ago and stuck it in the freezer for Christmas and haven’t had time to look up a recipe yet. Thanks for beating me to the punch and saving me time!

    Reply
  9. AJ Q

    I’m planning on doing a beef brisket between Christmas and New Year’s. I may use some of the drippings and fat to make the Yorkshire pudding how much dripping and fat do you suggest?

    AJ, you should use at least enough to cover the bottom of the pan; maybe 1/8″? But for a really tasty pudding, the more the better; I probably left about 1/3″ of fat/drippings in the pan. Good luck! PJH

    Reply
  10. Etsme

    I grew up with rib roast and Yorkshire pudding every Christmas, even though we didn’t live in the U.K. I have fond memories of watching my mother mixing the flour, milk and eggs and pouring it into the smoking hot grease. I could almost eat an entire pan by myself ;-)

    Fast forward 50 years and here I sit gluten intolerant wanting some good old fashioned Yorkshire pudding. I wonder if Yorkshire pudding made with gluten free flour is half as good as the real stuff… I’ll just have to try it and find out.

    Hmm, it is certainly possible! Please let us know how it goes for you.-Jon

    Reply
  11. Cindy Leigh

    Looks delicious! And I love your puppies!
    What’s the consistancy of the finished pudding? Eggy? Or bread-y?
    Do you have to butter it or anything? Eat it with a fork and knife, I’m presuming?

    Cindy, those pups are so sweet – one is mine, one is our friend’s, and they play very nicely together. The pudding is eggy, like a soft popover. And yes, you eat it with a knife and fork. Or if you’re casual, you pick it up in your fingers and then lick them afterwards! :) PJH

    Reply
  12. copeck

    I am definitely altering my Christmas prime rib this year to include the Yorkshire pudding AND the baked stuffed potatoes. It will be so nice to not have to juggle things in the oven for once! I have a Canadian friend (originally from the UK) who leaves her batter in the fridge until the minute it is to be used. Have you heard of the method? Thanks for some great and easy ideas!
    Cheers!

    I don’t think it hurts to leave the batter in the fridge – but I also don’t think it’s necessary. So either way… Have a great dinner! PJH

    Reply
  13. BethShortt2

    An easy trick to remembering on which side the flatware goes is this: “knife,” ” spoon,” and “right” all have 5 letters and the knife and spoon are placed on the right side of the plate. “Fork” and “left” have 4 letters each and the fork goes on the left. Easy peasy!

    Fantastic trick! I feel my etiquette has been “refreshed” for setting the table once again. Thanks for the great idea! ~Kim@KAF

    Reply
  14. misoranomegami

    $10 prime rib special and $5 a lb raw?! Man I live in cattle country and those are good prices! Last time I got mine on a good sale I think it was $8 and I got a 12lb one for a large dinner party. They’re absolutely worth it though. And yes we did have yorkshire pudding.

    Reply
  15. redshan68

    Mmm… prime rib. So very worth the time and extra expense! For non-holiday times, would there be any reason one couldn’t make Yorkshire pudding with a roasted chicken? I imagine you’d have to remove at least SOME of the drippings.

    You certainly could do this with chicken drippings and yes, you’d want to remove some of the excess fat. Also, be very careful when heating the fat and juices so they don’t smoke up your kitchen! About 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of drippings would do for this. You can always remove the drippings from the pan and let them settle so you only add the fat back to the pan and not the juices (reserve the juices for gravy/sauce!). I think I want to try this myself! ~Kim@KAF

    Reply
  16. Jess

    Giving cooked bones to dogs is not good, they can severely harm your dog. Cut off a bit of roast for the pups instead for a super delicious and safe treat.
    Thanks for the healthy hound reminder. Happy holidays! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. Bettyky

    This is our family’s traditional Christmas dinner, we serve it with a great horseradish sauce, so much easier than a turkey.
    1/4 c sour cream
    1/4 c mayo
    3 tbsp horseradish
    Ground pepper
    Sounds perfect for the sandwiches too. Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. wendyb964

    This has been my go-to easy-peasy dinner party meal since college (ok, then I had a donate to the main course fund.) I always get it cradled: the butcher cuts the bones off then ties them back on. Much easier to carve, and there is no shortage of two-legged beasts who get them far before the 4-legged variety. It requires NO fussing, throw some baking taters in the oven or make crock-pot mashers, don’t forget the horseradish sauce (caution: do not let guests put it on their taters), and thaw a cheesecake you’ve made from the freezer. Even easier, when peeps ask what they may bring, say veg, wine, or dessert. Doing it tomorrow for 8.
    Hey, umm, you forgot to tell us what time to show up.? ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  19. 3petitsprinces

    What a timely entry! I have a standing rib roast in my freezer awaiting a delicious dinner for friends who are in England now. My South African husband regularly requests a beef roast with yorkshire pud for Christmas. Here’s my question: Hubby insists that there be gravy with the beef and yorkshire pud. If I use all the drippings for the pud, how do I make gravy? I admit that I consider myself a pretty accomplished cook but gravy intimidates me. Can you give specifics, in terms of measurements? Also, I find that I am never able to remove the layer of fat. As you say, in for a penny etc., is it ok to just leave the fat in and make the gravy with it? I suppose what I need is a gravy primer!

    What you need is a good gravy recipe; I seldom make it, so don’t have a recipe, but I know you need at least a couple of tablespoons of fat to combine with the flour. I’d sugest simply Googling “gravy recipe rib roast” – I’m betting you’ll be able to find something fairly simple. As for splitting the drippings – unfortunately, you can’t make a lot of gravy and a full recipe of pud too, given the limited drippings, so you have to decide which. Or you can just make a small amount of gravy, and leave most of the drippings with the pudding. Finally, investing in a fat separator would probably be worth your while, if you plan on making gravy on a regular basis. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  20. annemcd6

    Gravy… yorkshire pudding is best with beef gravy! Roast beef and yorkshire pudding have been our traditional Christmas dinner for over 50 years. Sometimes Nana makes the gravy ahead of time and I use canola oil in the yorkshire pan instead of beef drippings. I usually make a quadruple recipe in an 18:X24″ pan. Delish!

    Wow, a quadruple recipe – testament to how tasty Yorkshire “pud” really is! Thanks for sharing here, Anne – PJH

    Reply
  21. John L.

    The best part of making this was using a fake cockney accent all day in the kitchen until my kids eyes had literally rolled back into their heads. Never made yorkshire pudding before but I will from now on. Really answers the questions of “what should I do with all that good stuff left in the pan?”
    LOVE IT!!!!!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  22. Matt

    I made this for Christmas dinner (with dried herbs from my sister-in-law’s garden). The prime rib was fantastic, but the Yorkshire putting didn’t rise (despite 20 minutes of coaxing it in a pretty decent approximation of a Yorkshire accent). The only thing I can think might have happened was that I didn’t allow enough time to let the batter come up to room temperature (the roast was done a lot sooner than I expected).
    I am sorry you did not get the puff you were looking for even while using your finest Yorkshire accent! Is is possible you did not reheat your pan with the drippings before pouring the batter in? Also, did you increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees? And keep in mind too, the puff will be irregular and never in the same places each time! Elisabeth

    Reply
  23. Peter Branson

    My ma and pa were both from Green Bay WI, and prime rib w Yorkshire pudding were regular fare at our house whenever company was there. Mom always poured the Yorkshire pudding mix under the roast before the roast went in the oven…we’d always fight over the center cut of the Yorkshire w/ all the roast drippings. zowie! It was good!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      My grandma was from Green Bay, Peter, so I can imagine it was real “comfort food” – a lovely warming meal – on one of those cold winter nights… :) PJH

  24. sandra Alicante

    Hi PJ!

    As a brit I am very familiar with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. My mother always bought topside of beef – I don’t know the American cuts.
    Yorkshires are good baked in Texas Muffin pans too, as individual ones. Any left over can be frozen, although up north (not my territory) it is common to serve them with warmed jam as a pudding.

    Reply
  25. Grossvater

    Going to our daughters for Christmas day, but I’ll be cooking prime rib on 23 December, our 47th wedding anniversary, and will give Yorkshires a try for first time and using your recipe. I’ll also make roasted taters.
    We will disagree about how to cook asparagus. I’ll simmer mine in salted water for 7 minutes after they come to a boil. (I hate the 21st century trend of crispy green veggies)
    I’ll also bake a small batch of butterhorn crescent rolls.
    A bottle of Washington State gewürztraminer will complete the feast

    Reply
  26. Dawn

    I made this prime rib with the Yorkshire pudding last year for New Year’s Day. It was a huge hit. As if the prime rib wasn’t decadent enough…the pudding put it over the top! It was so delicious, I’m making this again tomorrow night as an early New Year’s celebratory meal since my daughter will be traveling on New Year’s Day.

    Thank you for an easy and spectacular meal!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Dawn, so glad to hear you’ve been enjoying this recipe. Best wishes for your pre-New-Year’s-Eve celebration! PJH

  27. Eric DeMuth

    This is our meal tomorrow night. We shall see – my first attempt at a standing rib roast! Our “rub” is more of a paste. I took the basics – chopped garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley. I put a bunch of each (I know, real specific) in a pedestal along with some fresh ground salt and pepper. I added some olive oil to the mixture and ground it up into a paste.
    I then rubbed the roast with olive oil then added the paste to the roast. I did a little additional salt and pepper to the top of the roast and there it will sit until tomorrow afternoon.
    Now.. if it cooks to MR along with the Yorkshire pudding… this should be one to remember (albiet much more expensive than the 4.99 a pound mentioned above!)

    Reply

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